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We advocate on local, state and national levels to address underlying causes of homelessness and challenge the status quo.
We close our clinics for one full day each legislative session and take our staff, clients and community partners to Annapolis to lobby lawmakers on our legislative priorities. See photos from a very successful Lobby Day 2018!
At critical junctures in the legislative process where we have the chance to influence a legislative outcome, we activate our community through advocacy alerts. Sign up for our emails to receive these and other important updates.
Our staff and clients have unique insight into the issues that drive and affect poverty, health and homelessness. That insight, in turn, can be critical to informing the course of legislation and public policy decisions.
See our 2018 legislative priorities approach and detail here.
Our staff and clients have been advocating mightily this legislative session, and their voices are making a difference. Here's an update, as the sessions enters its final weeks...
THIS IS BIG. We are the closest we’ve been in 15-plus years to making a TDAP increase happen.
The bill that would increase Maryland’s Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) benefit is halfway to becoming a reality: It passed the House of Delegates March 16 and is now in the Senate.
See details below but in short, HB 1615/SB 1231, if passed, would increase the monthly TDAP benefit to $215 a month as of July 1, 2019—up from $185 a month today and, thanks to an FY2019 budget increase, $195 as of July 1, 2018. It would then increase $8-$12 each year until it is equal to the Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefit for a one-person household, or $306 a month.
But in the immediate term, we can’t leave Senate passage of the TDAP bill to chance, so we’re pushing senators hard in the days ahead, and we need your help! Here’s what you can do:
Email members of the Senate Finance Committee between now and next Wednesday with this short, urgent message: Please support HB 1615/SB 1231! And email your own senator, too, because when the bill goes to the floor for a full Senate vote, your representative’s vote in favor will be critical.
HB 1615/SB 1231—as amended—would:
We are feeling very good about this one passing.
The bill to certify community health workers passed the House of Delegates March 13. Its Senate counterpart never moved forward, but because the House version passed, that version crossed over to the Senate with amendments and is now with the Senate Finance Committee, where it will get a hearing.
HB 490/ SB 163—as amended—would:
More very good and big news...
The Senate passed the adult Medicaid benefit bill with amendments that would not create a full adult dental benefit, but instead an adult dental benefit pilot. Details still to come, but this is a huge step forward in the push for Medicaid coverage and your advocacy mattered! Now on to the House of Delegates...
This bill has not made progress in either chamber since hearings in late February and early March. Stay tuned.
This bill requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development to administer a grant program to end youth homelessness breezed through the House of Delegates and is now in the Senate. Stay tuned!
The bill to make services delivered by peer recovery specialist reimbursable through Medicaid is making its way through both chambers with amendments that do not make the services reimbursable through Medicaid, but do create a workgroup that will make recommendations on the reimbursement of certified peer recovery specialists to the governor and General Assembly by December, 2018.
The bill to require Medicaid, insurers, nonprofit health service plans and health maintenance organizations to cover FDA-approved and necessary medications for treatment of hepatitis C is not moving forward due to a hefty fiscal note. But it has raised the profile of the need to increase access to hep C treatments in the state and ups the pressure on the Department of Health to address hep C.
The House of Delegates has also generated budget language that would withhold $100,000 from the health department until it submits a hep C plan to the budget committees by July 1, 2018—in short, a step to hold the department accountable for acting on hep C. In response to the American Civil Liberties Union alerting the state in January 2018 that it would pursue legal action concerning the criteria adopted by Maryland Medicaid for access to hep C therapies, the health department stated it would develop a broad-based plan to address hep C. Together, this budget note and SB 943 hold the department's feet to the fire.
This omnibus crime bill sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin that passed the Senate and is now in the House Judiciary and Appropriation committees contains harmful elements that are largely overshadowed by the more prominent and publicly popular elements related to fighting violent crime. SB 122 would:
There is strong advocacy underway by the Drug Policy Alliance, and Health Care for the Homeless has signed on in support. Stay tuned.